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MacArthur Dissemination Meeting on Non-Traditional Security and Regional Security Cooperation

Date: 28–29 November 2011 (Monday – Tuesday)
Venue: Marina Mandarin Hotel, Singapore
Organised by: RSIS Centre for NTS Studies and RSIS Centre for Multilateralism Studies

Over the course of 3 years (2009–2011), the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies coordinated cluster three of the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative (funded by the MacArthur Foundation), which focused on internal challenges in Asia. The Centre developed an active research agenda that drew on its own resources as well as that of its network partners around the region to deliver policy-relevant outputs. The research addressed many of the most pressing challenges faced by Asia’s policymaking communities, from climate change, natural disasters, and energy, to internal and cross-border conflict.

With the aim to showcase the research outcomes of the project, the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies and the RSIS Centre for Multilateralism Studies co-organised the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative Dissemination Meeting on 28–29 November 2011 at the Marina Mandarin Hotel in Singapore. Participants of this meeting included prominent policymakers, Track II parties, academics, researchers and civil society representatives.

During the presentations, researchers involved in the project shared that the Centre’s research identified a broader and more inclusive understanding of security that sought to open up policymaking to different perspectives. However, there has been a re-emergence of interest in traditional security issues in recent years, even though NTS issues are increasingly prevalent in the Asia-Pacific. This shift illustrates the necessity of continuing to further evidence-based and policy-relevant research to ensure that policy gaps in responding to NTS challenges are effectively addressed.

The following are key themes that have emerged from research conducted in the areas of Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disasters, Energy and Human Security, and Internal and Cross-border Conflict:

Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disasters

Over the last three years, the research project on Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disasters focused on a plethora of emerging threats while also illuminating the human resilience of affected communities in the region. Two salient issues that were raised included the role of gender, and the nexus between climate change and migration. Both topics were further developed based on existing knowledge of complex NTS threats in Asia. In doing so, issues relating to the vulnerabilities and resilience of communities in the face of disasters were examined in greater depth. Such perspectives provided an alternative to the doomsday scenarios prevalent in climate change discourse, which often create dystopian images of security risks and threats without giving appropriate credence to the welfare and standing of those most vulnerable to climate change.

Energy and Human Security

Indeed, throughout the three-year initiative, a running theme was the recognition of community resilience in response to the multitude of modern NTS challenges. One of the primary research findings of the research project on Energy and Human Security was that communities and non-state actors can add significant value by influencing the decision-making process as states strive to address energy vulnerability – a key concern in East Asia which is home to net energy-importing countries.

The research findings suggest that there is rising demand from countries for energy but this need not lead to zero-sum games and that efficiency of energy consumption might prove to be as or more important than securing access to more resources. The research highlighted that both state and non-state actors continue to face the challenge of collectively addressing energy supply issues due to limited political and economic integration and openness in the region.

One stream of the research focused on the development of nuclear energy for civilian purposes, which was largely seen as an attractive way to increase local energy supply in the region up until the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan. Subsequently, the policy debate over nuclear power was rekindled with Japan suspending its nuclear energy plants. Many states in the region do however still see nuclear power playing an important part in their future energy mix. Issues related to plant safety were not the only nuclear policy challenges identified by the research. The ongoing tensions, both in East Asia with the potential development of nuclear weapons in North Korea, and the long-term political stresses in South Asia, illustrate the more geostrategic NTS threats in Asia.

Internal and Cross-border Conflict

While the development of nuclear weapons concerns security policymakers worldwide, the more localised ongoing civil unrest in South and Southeast Asia continues to stifle democratic consolidation and economic development within the two subregions. Ongoing internal conflicts in Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, and the cross-border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia, attest to the need for policy preparations and policy solutions in Southeast Asia.

The Internal and Cross-border Conflict research project highlighted the development of a regional human rights body – the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights – and the broader ASEAN Political-Security Community. These institutional developments provide the arenas through which more substantive progress can be made to address the root causes and human consequences of the conflicts at the regional level. One key theme has been to document the varying levels of policy traction that the Responsibility to Protect norm generates in Asia. On the one hand, Asian states are notable contributors to UN peace operations, yet there remain many instances of human rights abuses within the region, illustrating the limited progress of security sector reform in Southeast Asia.

Click here for the Meeting programme.

 

Speeches delivered at the Meeting

  • Welcome Remarks
    Ambassador Barry Desker
    Dean
    S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)
    Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
    Singapore
  • Keynote Speech
    Prof. Ramesh Thakur
    Former Senior Vice-Rector, United Nations University;
    Former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations; and
    Director, Centre for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament
    Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy
    The Australian National University

 

Presentations delivered at the Meeting

Session 1: Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disasters

  • The Gender and Climate Debate: More of the Same or New Ways of Thinking and Doing?
    Dr Bernadette P. Resurreccion
    Associate Professor
    Gender and Development Studies
    School of Environment, Resources and Development
    Asian Institute of Technology
    Thailand

    Executive summary
    Presentation slides
  • Contextualising Climate as a Cause of Migration in Southeast Asia
    J. Jackson Ewing
    Research Fellow
    And
    Lead
    Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disasters Programme, and Food Security Programme
    Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
    S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)
    Nanyang Technological University
    Singapore

    Executive summary
    Presentation slides

Session 2: Energy and Human Security

  • Nuclear Power and Energy Security in Asia: Critical Debates
    Dr Rajesh Basrur
    Senior Fellow
    S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)
    Nanyang Technological University
    Singapore

    And

    Mr Collin Koh
    Associate Research Fellow
    S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)
    Nanyang Technological University
    Singapore

    Executive summary
    Presentation slides
  • Enhancing Regional Cooperation in Fighting Piracy and Robbery against Ships in Asia
    Ms Lee Yin Mui
    Assistant Director (Research)
    Information Sharing Centre (ISC)
    Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP)
    Singapore

    Executive summary
    Presentation slides
  • Energy Outlook of East Asia and Challenges for Sustainable Development
    Mr Kensuke Kanekiyo
    Former Managing Director and Research Advisor
    The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ)
    Japan

    Executive summary
    Presentation slides

Session 3: Multilevel Approaches to Conflict Management

  • Responsibility to Protect in Asia: Issues and Challenges
    Dr Alistair D.B. Cook
    Research Fellow
    And
    Lead
    Internal and Cross-Border Conflict Programme
    Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
    S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)
    Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
    Singapore

    Executive summary
  • Security Sector Governance and Conflict Management in Southeast Asia
    Mr Herman J. Kraft
    Lecturer
    University of Philippines
    Diliman, Philippines

    Executive summary
    Presentation slides
  • Ceasefires sans Peace Process in Myanmar: The Shan State Army, 1989–2011
    Dr Tin Maung Maung Than
    Senior Fellow
    Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)
    Singapore
    And
    Ms Samara Yawnghwe
    Southeast Asian Studies Programme
    Chulalongkorn University
    Thailand

    Executive summary
    Presentation slides

 


Posted on: 11/28/2011 8:30:00 AM  |  Topic: Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disasters / Energy Security / Internal and Cross-Border Conflict / Other NTS Issues


Event Photos

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Related Video(s)

In conversation with Kensuke Kanekiyo (Research Advisor, Institute of Energy Economics, Japan)

Energy Security

In conversation with Tin Maung Maung Than (Senior Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies)

Internal and Cross-Border Conflict

In conversation with Ramesh Thakur (Director, Centre for Nuclear Nonprofileration and Disarmament Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy)

Internal and Cross-Border Conflict

In conversation with Dewi Fortuna Anwar (Deputy Secretary for Politics to the Vice President)

Other NTS Issues


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MacArthur Dissemination Meeting on Non-Traditional Security and Regional Security Cooperation Resource(s)

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Recent Publications

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